Join Us for the Hometown Maps Exhibition Opening Reception


hometownMap-header_1000x310_webCharles D. Eckman
Dean and University Librarian
Rodolphe el-Khoury
Dean of the School of Architecture

cordially invite you to a reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition

Hometown Maps: Where in the World Do Architects Come From?

Tuesday, October 6, at 4 p.m.
Otto G. Richter Library Reading Room, 1st Floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

This event is sponsored by University of Miami Libraries and the School of Architecture. Free and open to the public. RSVP by October 1 to Ivett Uria at 305-284-4026 or

Since 1996 UM students at the School of Architecture have commenced their program studies in urban design and architectural vernacular by first looking at the distinctive characteristics of the places they are most familiar with—their own hometowns—and using research tools to represent them in a map form. In drawing from historical and modern maps, information, GIS tools, and other resources of UM Libraries, students re-create the layout of their hometowns with rich architectural, historical, environmental, and sociological detail. A selection of these works, now on view at the Otto G. Richter Library, explores the many interesting ways in which students have described the look, feel, and function of places around the world they call home while celebrating the far-reaching talent and rich diversity of the University of Miami and its School of Architecture.

Contact us at 305-284-4026 or with questions about directions and parking.


DVD Picks: Banned Books Week

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

This week, from September 27 to October 3, the UM Libraries have been celebrating Banned Books Week. It is a celebration of the triumph of our freedom of expression. The movies on this list are all based on books that we are featuring in our displays in the Richter Library. The captions for each movie include the information on when and where the book was banned or challenged.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

The book was burned in Alamagordo, New Mexico, in 2001 for being “satanic.” In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him and, though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, still it remained lost to him. After many ages, it fell, by chance, into the hands of the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

The book was banned in public schools in Chicago, Illinois, in 2013. In 1970s Iran, Marjane “Marji” Satrapi watches events through her young eyes and her idealistic family. Their long-held dream is realized when the hated Shah is defeated in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, Marji grows up to witness first-hand how the new Iran has become a repressive tyranny on its own.

The book was challenged in middle schools in Goffstown, New Hampshire, in 2011. In the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place in the televised event in which one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts are chosen to fight to the death until one victor remains.

The book was banned in high school classrooms in Raceland, Louisiana, in 2008. With exacting detail, the film re-creates the American siege of the Somalian city of Mogadishu in October 1993, when a 45-minute mission turned into a 16-hour ordeal of bloody urban warfare.

The book was challenged in schools in Morganton, North Carolina, in 2008. An uneducated woman living in the rural American south who was raped by her father, deprived of the children she bore him, and forced to marry a brutal man she calls “Mister,” is transformed by the friendship of two remarkable women, acquiring self-worth and the strength to forgive.

The book was challenged in middle schools in Brentwood, Tennessee, in 2006. The setting is a dusty Southern town during the Depression. A white woman accuses a black man of rape. Though he is obviously innocent, the outcome of his trial is such a foregone conclusion that no lawyer will step forward to defend him–except the town’s most distinguished citizen.

The book series holds the record for being the most frequently challenged title in the U.S. for the decade of 2000-2009. Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The book was banned in high schools in Nampa, Idaho, in 2012. After Tita is forced to make the cake for the wedding of the man she loves and her own sister, the guests are overcome with sadness. Tita has discovered she can do strange things with her cooking.

The book was challenged in public schools in Olathe, Kansas, in 2007. In the Great Depression, George and Lennie, two displaced migrant ranch workers, dream of the autonomy of owning and operating their own ranch someday.

The book was challenged in high schools in Orono, Maine, in 2006. The fascinating true story of a young woman’s life-altering stay at a famous psychiatric hospital in the late 1960s.

The book was banned in high schools in Coventry, Rhode Island, in 2000. Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time. An otherwise typical soldier in WWII, without warning, he jumps back and forth in his life with no control over where he is going next.

The book was challenged in public schools in Lubbock, Texas, in 2008. In a parallel world where witches soar the skies and Ice Bears rule the frozen North, one special girl is destined to hold the fate of the universe in her hands.

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…


By Lauren Fralinger, Learning & Research Services

In 1977, there was nothing quite like it. A fantasy story with the scale of an epic history, the overtones of a war story told through old news reels and touches of a Western from its saloon brawls and quick-drawing characters.

Star Wars planet Alderaan. User: Yesuitus2001 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The opening lines of “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” put early audiences in mind of a fairy tale’s promise of “once upon a time”—and Star Wars indeed had all of these fairy tale elements as well.

Set in space and amid a series of exotic worlds and creatures, Star Wars tied together themes and characters that were familiar to audiences, but set in a strikingly complex, futuristic setting in a time when science fiction movies were not unheard of, but rare.

The story of the tyrannical Galactic Empire at war with the upstart Rebellion has not only continued to survive but also has evolved. The original is at the top of the list of highest grossing movies ever, and it has inspired a host other movies with similar characters, settings, themes, and ideas.


Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller is one of the more recent literary spin-offs to the series.

The enormous success of the original Star Wars led to sequels continuing to chronicle the adventures of the Rebellion’s heroes as they overthrew the Empire and restored the Republic. Followed in 1980 by The Empire Strikes Back and 1983 by Return of the Jedi, the second and third movies seemed to complete the adventures of the original three heroes—Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. Fans demanded more, and an expanded universe of books and graphic novels were released detailing the heroes’ further adventures in the galaxy far, far away.

After 1983, the juggernaut that was Star Wars slowed, but never stopped. Rumors of prequels percolated for years, sparked by the Episode V preceding the title of The Empire Strikes Back. In 1999, those rumors became reality, and a prequel trilogy made its way to theaters, telling the story of Darth Vader’s fall to the Dark Side.

Though the prequels were fraught with criticism, their release sparked off a renaissance in Star Wars, bringing in new fans and spurring the creation of new merchandise and stories, ensuring that another generation would grow up familiar with Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, lightsabers, and the Force.


Hot air balloon in Mexico built to resemble Star Wars’ infamous villain. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

That renaissance is still continuing. On December 16 of this year, Star Wars will once again hit theaters around the world. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the first of a new series of sequels, picking up after the end of the original trilogy. Though old heroes such as Luke, Leia, and Han will be returning, new heroes will be introduced, and the saga of Star Wars will continue to grow, thrive, and sweep us off to a galaxy far, far away. Until then, be sure to check out some of UM Libraries’ films and books based on the Star Wars franchise.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi



Non-Fiction Books

The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist’s Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books by Jeanne Cavelos

The Gospel According to Star Wars: Faith, Hope, and the Force by John McDowell

Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, and Critics by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and John Shelton Lawrence

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination by Ed Rodley

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor



Fiction Books

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Save the Date: Upcoming Events at UM Libraries


The University of Miami Libraries are hosting and co-presenting several events this fall and in the coming year. Please mark your calendars and join us for what promises to be a series of stimulating talks and presentations.

September 24, 2015 | Book Traces

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Otto G. Richter Library
Join in the search for unique library books! The UM Libraries are hosting an event for readers and book enthusiasts in the community to help locate some of the many old books with original reader markings—from pencilled notes to hand drawn maps to sketches in the margins—that are housed at Richter Library. The customizations, known as marginalia, are the focus of a national library initiative started at the University of Virginia to preserve information about unique copies of library books in the wake of wide-scale digitization. In addition to hosting an exciting search for marginalia in UM Libraries collections with assistance provided by librarians, the event will feature the following presentations:

Book Traces and the Technology of Memory
Andrew Stauffer, Founder of Book Traces, University of Virginia
11:30 a.m., 3rd Floor Conference Room

A Delicate Balance: How Functionality, Artifactual Evidence, and Resource Allocation Affect Preservation Decision-making
Kara McClurken, Principal Investigator on the Book Traces grant, University of Virginia
4 p.m., 3rd Floor Conference Room


October 28, 2015 | MEET the Ghostly Treasures of Special Collections

7 p.m. | Special Collections, Otto G. Richter Library
Special Collections will highlight a series of spooky, mysterious, and otherworldly texts from its rare and distinctive collections for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami’s October ICA MEETS event. As Halloween draws nigh, guests will learn about and explore rare books, manuscripts, photos, and ephemera culled from the thousands of historical books and documents related to spiritualism, the occult, and UFOs from the collections of Jackie Gleason and others. Special Collections is located on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

November 19, 2015 | Quince Sellos Cubanos Reception

6:30 p.m. | Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, Otto G. Richter Library
Join us for a reception and conversation with artist María Martínez-Cañas highlighting her exhibition, a portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints now on view at the library along with the original Cuban stamps that inspired her work. Exploring themes of history, memory, and identity, the limited-edition series was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection by Alan Gordich in 2014. The exhibition will remain on view through December 2015.

January 14, 2016 | Arva Moore Parks Presents George Merrick, Son of the South Wind

6:30 p.m. | Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, Otto G. Richter Library
As UM kicks off the 90th anniversary celebrations in 2016, Miami historian and University trustee Arva Moore Parks will present her latest book on Coral Gables’ founder and UM visionary George Merrick. Parks’ presentation at the library, co-sponsored by Books & Books, is in conjunction with the official opening of The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On, an exhibition of historical materials from the Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections reflecting the University’s enduring connection to Latin America and the Caribbean.


Featured events are free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, please contact or call 305-284-4026.

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Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons Opens at Richter Library

The Visioning Studio for the future Learning Commons is now open on the first floor of Richter Library.  Look for the large open space with the orange stripes brightening your path. The Visioning Studio offers a place for the UM community to begin trying out different types of spaces, services, and technologies that the UM Libraries might offer in partnership with campus academic service units. Here is a sampling of what you’ll discover in the Visioning Studio this month:

  • Free tutoring provided by the Academic Resource Center begins in the Visioning Studio’s Consultation Hub on September 8 at 5 p.m. The service will be provided Monday – Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The sound in the Visioning Studio will increase accordingly to a collaborative, conversational level during these times.  When tutoring is not occurring, the Consultation Hub is available for open study.


  • Brightspot consultants will be leading user experience interviews and workshops with students and faculty in the Active-Learning Environment during the week of September 8. The goal of this research is to involve our students and faculty in the design of our future Learning Commons. We are grateful to all who are participating!


  • Check out the puzzle station in our prototype BrainSpa, where you can relax and reboot your mind. We are hoping to hear your ideas about other activities you might like to be able to do in the Learning Commons.

Share your vision with us!


Now On View at Richter Library: Natural Cuba

Natural Cuba

An exhibition highlighting the island’s vibrant flora and fauna and their historical depictions, from iconic botanical illustrations to stunning wildlife publications to the beautifully colored specimens of the polymita picta, Cuba’s native tree snail. A series of historical photos, books, and other materials preserved by the Cuban Heritage Collection are now on display through Fall 2015 at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Otto G. Richter Library.

Now On View: Quince Sellos Cubanos

Quince Sellos Cubanos

An exhibition highlighting iconic scenes and symbols from Cuba’s past, reimagined by internationally renowned Cuban artist María Martínez-Cañas. A limited-edition portfolio of gelatin silver prints is on view alongside the artist’s thirty-year collection of original Cuban stamps which inspired the work. The portfolio was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection in 2015 by Alan Gordich. It is on display on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

Now On View at Weeks Library: Frank Sinatra Centennial Exhibit

Frank Sinatra cropped

The Weeks Music Library presents a selection of materials from its collections that highlight the profound, multifaceted cultural influence of the artist—perhaps best reflected in the assortment of nicknames including “Chairman of the Board,” “The Voice,” “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” and others by which he is still remembered. This exhibition spans his many memorable musical hits as well as his acting achievements, including his involvement in the Rat Pack, and other influential endeavors throughout his life.

Born December 12, 1915, Francis Albert Sinatra began his career performing as a big band crooner before finding fame as a popular singer and actor, culminating in his 1953 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for From Here to Eternity.

Though his popularity dwindled somewhat in later years, he stepped back into the spotlight with his 1980 cover of “(Theme from) New York, New York.” After a brief “retirement” in 1971, Sinatra continued performing and touring until his death in 1998.

Infamous for his membership in the “Rat Pack,” his alleged Mafia connections, and his ties to such political notables as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, Sinatra remains a beloved and fascinating figure of American popular music and culture.

Libraries and Presidents: From UM to DC

by Jason Sylvestre and Sarah Block

quote-square-Benet2_600x600When Dr. Jay Pearson, UM’s second president, left office in 1962, the University was bustling with a steady surge of students and faculty, new programs and schools, and the construction of many new buildings that he’d pushed for over the course of his tenure. Pearson’s parting achievement, arguably his biggest, was the construction of the Otto G. Richter Library.

The building’s dedication drew hundreds to Brockway Hall, the auditorium upon which the stack tower had just been built, so crowning the space with eight floors of books, which, while before were housed in four temporary facilities throughout the campus, could now be accessed from one building with bookveyors transporting them easily and quickly between floors. A state-of-the-art cataloging system would speed up the process of new books reaching the hands of students, while group and independent study areas provided much-needed academically centered space outside the classroom.


Archie McNeal, first director of libraries, and Jay F. W. Pearson, second president of the University of Miami, surrounded by books, 1953.

But Pearson it seems knew that the building’s importance was even greater than the sum of its parts—the modern features, or added study space, or the growing collections themselves. “This is the most significant day in the history of our university’s academic growth,” he said in his speech, describing not just a building but a scholarly foundation with a library that would shape the future of the whole campus; something his predecessor President Ashe cleared the way for, and all of its future presidents would be able to build on.

The research university that President Frenk now leads just 50 years later, following so many important milestones through the tenures of Presidents Stanford, Foote, and Shalala, attests to the truth in his statement.

Looking back many years earlier it comes with little surprise that a library, as a place dedicated to the preservation, collection, and access to knowledge, could have such an impact. The Library of Congress, for instance, at the heart of our nation’s capital, is very much a part of the national history it so steadfastly preserves. It is the go-to library for government officials dating back to the time of Thomas Jefferson, who also donated to it his entire personal collection (after the building was nearly destroyed during the War of 1812). Much later, the library even enlightened arguably the most famous national scandal, its checkout history from the White House helping Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate Watergate, leading to the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. One of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, in All the President’s Men, depicts the two reporters famously looking for clues in a pile of books during their visit.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

In National Treasure: Book of Secrets the library is likened to a web of secret passages leading to a universal book of knowledge, something that could only be metaphorically true—but a significant metaphor. For many, a library is characterized as a place of excitement, mystery, and above all, possibility.

Our UM Libraries are connected closely to our history as well because of unique and distinctive collections dedicated to documenting the records of local and surrounding communities, which today draw researchers from around the world. One such collection, the UM Presidential Papers—including records from all of the presidents while in office—mirrors the practice of many U.S. presidents who have made their papers public, and even built entire libraries for them following term.

President Roosevelt, a major proponent in formalizing the establishment of presidential libraries, dedicated his library in 1941. His speech describes the necessary foundation, of hope, on which all libraries stand. “To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgement in creating their own future.”

We at UM Libraries welcome with excitement this new era of our university’s history. Be sure to visit the University Archives to learn more about past presidents and the development of UM.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.

Miró Cardona audio recordings online

José Miró Cardona

Now online: 74 audio recordings from the José Miró Cardona collection including speeches, interviews, and radio broadcasts from the 1960s. The majority of these recordings are speeches and interviews with Miró Cardona and broadcasts of the radio program La voz del Consejo Revolucionario de Cuba. They also include interviews with exile leaders and activists Manuel Antonio Varona, Manuel Ray, and others; radio broadcasts from Cuba; and an interview by Cuban journalists with José Miró Torra, Miró Cardona’s son, who was captured during the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

A lawyer and politician who served as Prime Minister of Cuba for just over one month in early 1959, Miró Cardona (1902-1974) was president of the Consejo Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary Council), or CRC, the Cuban exile organization that worked with the CIA and the administration of US President John F. Kennedy to prepare the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.

These reel-to-reel audio recordings form part of the José Miró Cardona Papers held by the Cuban Heritage Collection.